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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Journalists Attack NDC Manifesto


INTERNATIONAL JOURNALISTS attending an InWent political journalism course in Berlin, the German capital, have described the manifesto of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC)'s government as overly ambitious and full of rhetorics.

The NDC manifesto was used as test case when the journalists were being taught the two main economic policies in the world, propounded by Adams Smith and John Maynard Keynes.

A Ghanaian example was used because of the flourishing democracy in the country.

The general impression was that the manifesto was vague and lacked direction.

The economic policy in the NDC manifesto, which was identified as a 'typical' Keynesian type of policy that is people-centred and has greater government control, could not be specific on its industrialisation policy, financial sector growth, mining, agricultural growth and forestry.

“NDC politicians did not tell Ghanaians how they were going to fund their ambitious programmes,” Guthrie Muyunki, a journalist from Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe, told the class.

According to him, the manifesto harshly indicted the then government in power, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), as if it did not do anything at all.

“At least some of us outside Ghana knew of Ghana's stable economy under former President Kufuor and the economic interventions he introduced to prop up the economy, so it does not mean the NPP was a complete failure as the NDC wants us to believe,” he said.

“I know for sure that the price of gold went up during the tenure of the last administration but the country maintained its economical and political stability so I find it a bit disappointing when the NDC says the NPP completely failed,” Muyunki noted.

Another journalist from the Standard Newspaper in Kenya, Alex Ndegwa, indicated that the NDC portrayed in its manifesto that Ghana’s economy, under the previous government, was in a bad state, yet the way to fix it was not clearly spelt out there in the manifesto.

Juliana Ezoeke of 'Tell' magazine in Nigeria also thought the manifesto was harsh on the economy under the previous government without any concrete and specific measures to fix it.

There was however divided opinion on which of the economic policies would be best for a developing country, whether Adams Smith's Classics policy, which talks of free market, with emphasis on investment and export, or John Keynes' Keynesian policy which talks about controlled economy, with emphasis on government control and boosting of consumption.

The tutor for the session, Ms Elke Pickartz, a renowned economic journalist who once worked with Reuters News Agency in London, said at the moment, one specific economic ideology would not help any country unless there was a blend of the two and that the proportions of each would depend on the economic beliefs of the political party in power.

“The best way to go is to mix the two but that will depend on where a political party is coming from”.

According to her, Keynesian policy is a socialist type of ideology that could bring social relief to people, but would eventually burden the economy with a huge debt and cripple it while the free market policy could create employment, with emphasis on companies but the market could also fail if there is no control at all.

From Thomas Fosu Jnr, Berlin

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